My Year in Writing: November

November2007November is my favorite month. A chill falls down around us, the colors of the world change, and a wonderful silence that goes unnoticed but calms the nerves of summer settles in. This November has been one of the best months in my life.

First, and in a way that seems improbable to me, I was blessed to find an incredibly supportive agent who took a chance on me when she had no reason to. If you’ve been following my blog then you know the whole process started in May.

This May I gave an alumni reading from my chapbook Bad Kids from Good Schools at Spalding University. After my reading Erin Keane, a poet friend who taught one of the stories I read at The Kentucky Governors’ School, suggested that I send off my chapbook to agents to see if they would be interested in shopping it around as an outline for a Y.A. novel. I’d never considered writing a Y.A. novel since my work is edgy, but thought it was worth a shot.

A few months later I sent out a query to 14 agents I found through Publisher Weekly’s New Agent Alert. One of them, Roz Foster, loved the stories, but said she couldn’t sell anything as a partial. That was August 23rd. Since I also had a book scout interested in the work, and given that publishing slows during the holidays, I set out to finish the novel by November 1st. For 73 days (forgive me if my math is off. It was a blur.) I wrote six drafts of the novel which became The Dream Academy. I sent it to Roz on November 4th (almost made the deadline), and by the next week I had an agent; one I clicked with and who really dug my work. This was an amazing pay-off since the months I spent buried in writing were done with no promise of anything working out. I only had to bleed all I could onto the page and hope for the best. The best came.

As I write this the book is being shopped. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I already feel incredibly fortunate.

Other than finishing The Dream Academy and getting a great agent, this month I was blessed with the support of so many fellow authors who blurbed my story collection Romance for Delinquents. I asked them for blurbs during the busiest month for academics, a month with Thanksgiving, and had less than four weeks for them to send blurbs for the book if they could and wanted to. They came through for me more than I could’ve ever expected, and I am humbled by their kindness and support. I’m going to post a thank you to all of them soon.

To help spur pre-sales for my collection I also started my love letter promotion which you can read more about on my blog. An old flame sent in a picture from our days of stolen beach love affairs, and was excited about it. That was nice to see since the promotion is meant to be at best a sweet snapshot of young love.

Lastly, one of my cnf tweets was chosen by Creative Non-fiction for inclusion in their November newsletter, and is under consideration for publication in the journal itself. How lucky can one guy be?

Christmas is three weeks away as I write this. I’m hopeful that The Dream Academy will find a home, and eager to get back to reading after the semester ends. I have book reviews to finish, and a new novel to start writing in January. The world is calm and quiet. At this moment anything is possible, but if nothing comes of the new novel it’s enough to know that I have the love and support of people who cared when they didn’t have to. That more than anyone can ask for.

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